New Apartments Proposed for Bandana Square
Wednesday, March 18, 2020 11:10 AM

A view of the proposed building looking northwest.

A Saint Paul developer is proposing a four-story, 152-unit apartment building atop the existing parking ramp west of the Best Western hotel in Bandana Square. The target move-in date is fall 2021.

Despite the decaying concrete of the parking decks, the ramp is structurally sound enough to support the project without additional pilings or foundation work, says Jim LaValle, principal for TJL Development LLC. The market-rate apartments would be a combination of 23 studios, 47 alcove studios, 60 one-bedroom, and 22 two-bedroom units, none larger than 1,000 square feet, he says. Most would have small balconies. Early designs show a 60-foot-tall, E-shaped building with an outdoor pool and grills, bocce court, putting green, dog run, and other recreation space on the first level. Some of the design elements, he said, intentionally echo the historical brick and arches of Bandana Square. Extensive landscaping is proposed throughout the site. Though Bandana Square is a city historial district, the ramp itself is not part of the district. The project is now in the city's site plan review process.

LaValle told District 10's Land Use Committee on March 4 that rents will be "competitive" with other apartment communities in Energy Park. The project would provide 289 parking spaces, including secure underground parking for tenants, and 150 public parking spaces that will be leased back to the hotel.

The city's Planning Commission on May 1 unanimously recommended rezoning the site from B3 commercial to T3 traditional, which is required in order to lease parking to the hotel. The commission also approved a setback variance so the building can be farther from the property line than the 10 feet maximum allowed under T3 zoning. (The District 10 board voted March 17 to support the rezoning and variance requests.) The City Council has scheduled a public hearing on the rezoning request for June 10.

LaValle's company currently is involved in The Grove at Snelling and St. Clair, and apartments that replaced Kelly's Depot Bar in Lowertown.

Originally posted March 6, 2020; last updated on May 1.

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A view of the proposed building looking north-northeast.

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